Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Holiday Dresses

It's never too early to look for great dresses for the holidays. I love to have a few new dresses on hand for last minute parties. And there are great deals to be had right now.
This dress is from JCPenney's marked down to $89.99. It's labeled a bridesmaid dress but you could wear it anywhere.This one is also from JCPenney's and available in both misses and plus sizes. This one is $69.99 right now.
This Ann Taylor dress is quite a steal for $39.44. It's available up to a size 18.
Or these from Overstock for $54.99.
Happy Shopping!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Apple Strudel Muffins

On Friday, Tai's work celebrated Johnny Appleseed Day which I found odd but whatever. Tai asked me to prepare an apple dish to take for the potluck. I did a little research and found an Apple Strudel Muffin recipe that looked pretty easy.
I used 3 different kinds of apples-Honeycrisp, Red Delicious, and Granny Smith. I know some apples are better for baking than other but I'm a little clueless here. If you know, let me know!
Here's the apples all chopped up:
I also bought a new muffin pan. It's silcone and those muffins just popped out once they were cool! And here's the finish product:
Tai said they were a big hit. I didn't try any so I have to make them again.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ooh, Feel that Winter Chill

It's been getting chilly here in the Pacific Northwest. It's time to break out the sweaters! Every fall I decide to buy a new fall/winter coat. But I'm terrible a buying a good winter coat. These are the ones I'm attracted to:

See no hoods! Something essential to me for our Seattle weather. I hate carrying an umbrella (no real Seattlite carries one anyway), so I have to have a hood. But I have a closet full of coats with no hoods!
I need to buy ones like these:

I've buying wanting to buy a North Face jacket for ages now. I should just bite the bullet and do it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I need a new camera

Sadly my camera died in Houston. This is the second camera to die. I toss the camera in my purse and a few days later the screen doesn't work. Since I don't spend too much on them I toss them and start over.
I used Tai's phone for most of the pictures we took in Houston but that's not going to cut it. I gotta get a new camera.

I like basic point and shoots. I'm not a photographer. I mostly take pictures to show you all. Any good recommendations? I've had Kodaks and HPs in the past and they seemed to take good shots.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Get Hitched, Give Hope

I'm so grateful that Kate McElwee posted this on her blog. I don't think I would have heard about it otherwise.
Tickets start at $15. It sounds like a wonderful, luscious event. I can't wait! I'll be tagging along with Kris to check out all sort of lovely bridal goodies. Go to Get Hitched, Give Hope's website for all the details and tickets!

The Aquarium

On Thursday we needed to find something to do in Houston. Sitting in our hotel room was not cutting it. I knew there was an aquarium in Houston but wasn't sure if it was open. But since Ike had left a lot of people with little to do and the aquarium had lost a little bit of business due to Ike, they were offering a special-$5 for the whole Aquarium experience.
So we headed to the Aquarium to check it out:Unfortunately the aquarium was a little smaller than I had hoped so it didn't take up all day.
They did have these nice alligator skulls right as we came in. Most of the aquarium is devoted to Texas marine life and critters that call the Houston bayous home.
One of the coolest features was the shark tank. You board a small train that takes you though the tank so you can see the sharks as if you were underwater. I knew Tai would love this since he really likes sharks. There was also a giant Ferris wheel where were took this picture (and the first one).
We also had lunch at the Aquarium restaurant. I have to say that if you do check out the Aquarium, check out the restaurant. The portions were huge and the service was excellent.
The Aquarium was definitely worth the $5 visit!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Searching for BBQ in Houston

Tai had never been to Houston but he knows Texas is known for their BBQ. I didn't know where there was a good Texas BBQ places in Houston. I had been to Pappas BBQ before but not impressed. We asked a multiple of people along the way about good BBQ in the area we were staying in. Finding any BBQ was further complicated by the hurricane. Tom had suggested Brown Sugar's across the freeway from us.Brown Sugar's was open just after the storm. Tai ordered the meat platter with beef ribs, beef brisket, sausage, and chicken. The sauce wasn't that great. Tai thought it tasted like the beginning of chili. The meat was pretty good though. I liked it. But Tai wouldn't rush back for it either.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Worse Part

The continuing story of Ike...
The worse part of the storm wasn't the storm. We saw little damage. We were lucky. The hotel lost some siding. There were downed trees. We had no power so we were uncomfortably hot. We had little food supplies so we were hungry. My brother also had no power but he was ok. His apartment complex saw similar damage to our hotel.
We didn't stock up on gas before the storm, so we tried to conserve what little we had. We had bought water but little food before the storm. The room was so hot that we took turns sleeping so someone could always watch the door which we kept open for air.
Saturday night I heard that the Kroger a few miles away might be open in the morning with food. I told Tai who recommended that we be there at 6am. So a little before 6am Sunday am, Tai and I drove in the dark to find the Kroger. Unfortunately the store was closed but the gas station was open. We filled up the tank with gas and talked to some of the others about what they knew. We found out the Kroger would indeed open at noon with food. So we planned to come back at noon.
Before noon, Dad, Tai, and I drove to the Kroger in the hopes that there would be food. The line for gas stretched more than a mile and the parking lot for Kroger was full. We stood in line for over almost 2 hours to get inside the Kroger. They let 10 families in at a time. We bought soups and stews hoping that the generator at the hotel would work the next day. We bought canned chicken and mayo to make chicken salad. I bought 10 kiwis because I needed some fruit. Three hundred dollars later we left feeling very proud of ourselves. But once we got back to the hotel we were even more overjoyed to see the power back on. We were incredibly lucky to get our power back so quick. As I write this over a million people in the Houston area are still without power.
We charged up our phones, ate hot food, sat in a cool air conditioned room. I called my brother to see if he wanted to share in our food and cool air, but his side of the freeway also gained power so he was set.
The storm hadn't been the worse part. Sitting around in a hot, muggy room with no food was the worse part. I was scared that my Dad would need to go to the hospital. As a diabetic I was sure that he wasn't eating enough. Plus the heat and humidity effects his balance in a bad way. I felt so helpless and scared. Probably better planning would have helped but I was overconfident in the hotel's ability to keep us safe and comfortable. Those 2 days were dark and bleak for me. I don't feel have not suffered as much as those who lived in Galveston which is still under water. There are people waiting in line for gas, water and food today in Houston, less than a mile from where I sit. I am lucky. I can leave and go to my comfortable home. I do not have to wait and hope power gets restored quickly. I am comfortable.
I'm not asking you do anything here. If you live in a hurricane region, my heart goes out to you. I could not live with the possibility of doing this a couple times a year. If you have the basic necessities tonight, consider yourself very lucky. Hug your loved ones and enjoy your meal. You honestly deserve to feel this comfortable. I will never take my comfort for granted again. I am so lucky. And I hope you are too.

Ike Is So Going To Pwn Your Ass

The continuing story of Ike...
After we left Tom and Anne, I tried to go to sleep. It was about 1am and the storm was going to get worse til 3am. But Tai was to amped up to sleep. I drifted off while he tried to read by candle light.
Around 3 am I was awoken by a heavy rain hitting our window. I saw Tai putting on his shirt and shoes.
Me: Where are you going?
Tai: Out for a smoke.
Me: Uh, there is a hurricane out there babe. Don't go. Smoke in here.
Tai: No I'll be right outside. It'll be fine.
Me: Sweetie, Ike is so going to pwn your ass it's not even funny.
Tai: No one is going to pwn me. I'll be fine.
Me: Alrighty then.
Tai was gone about a minute and a half before he ran back inside, drenched. Epic fail. It had been too windy to smoke outside so Tai moved down the hall to find some place more sheltered. He was fine til he heard this demonic laugh (presumably the wind rushing down the hall). That chased him back in to the room.
Moral of the story: Don't smoke outside in a hurricane.

A Circus of Clouds

Tai had never been in a hurricane before. Growing up in Southern California, there were no hurricanes. Plus his limited traveling never put him in the path of one. I had been in one hurricane before. When I was young one passed over Houston. We'd been here visiting my grandma. I don't remember it being a big deal. I do remember that the eye passed over us and I thought that was kind of cool. I later learned that's why we still had a house.
Honestly before Ike hit I was nervous. Who knew if we'd be ok? Have power? Have a roof? The hotel we are staying at didn't seem to nervous and was book solid before the hurricane hit so I figured that was good. Gulf coast evacuates were choosing this place, great! I had some doubts but I figured that if the hotel felt that it was unsafe it would recommend we leave.
Tai was excited. He viewed the hurricane as a one in a lifetime adventure and refused to be as nervous as I was. I wanted to hunker down and he wanted to stand in the middle of it.
Friday evening as the storm grew, Tai made friends with a couple on our floor. The guy told him that they planned to sit on the balcony to watch the storm roll in. Tai asked me if I wanted to sit with them and watch. I figured we could watch for a little while but soon it would be too uncomfortable to be outside.
At this point it wasn't really raining, but we'd lost power so I couldn't watch tv and see how Ike was effecting Galveston. We grabbed some drinks and our chairs to sit outside and watch the storm.
We talked to our neighbors (a couple in their 40's with 2 kids) who lived a few miles closer to Galveston than where we sat. Let's call them Anne and Tom. Anne and Tom were nervous about their house. They recently canceled their flood insurance so they were hoping not to come home to a flooded house. (It looks like their town did experience some flooding so I hope they were lucky). We talked about Houston since Tom was originally from the area. We talked about local restaurants and places to see. Tom asked us about DC while we explained we were from the Washington closer to Canada.
Anne and Tom pretty drunk by now. Apparently liquor is key to surviving a hurricane. I didn't know that. We did not buy beer or any alcohol before the storm although our new friends were ok with sharing until they discovered they ran out too.
Anne had a vivid imagination. She kept seeing "Ghost riders" in the sky. So we sang the song til we forgot the lyrics and discussed the songs meaning. We never did arrive to a conclusion. Anne also heard squawking. It was pretty windy now and everything was rattling and making some noise. But Anne was convinced that it was bunch of bats who were scared of the storm. She wanted to find out who was going to take care of the animals, the animals who were scared of the storm. They had a little beagle in their room and she was so scared for the little animals. Anne started shouting to the bats to flee, to seek shelter while Tom laughed at her, telling her they weren't bats; she was just hearing things. I began to wonder why I was still sitting with these folks.
Then the rain started but the wind was so strong the rain
(which was mist at this point) moved in bands. It didn't fall straight down but it moved sideways. The huge lights on the freeway were still working so we could see the wind pushing the rain sideways. Anne thought it looked like a "circus of clouds". Tai just loved that image so we said it several more times that night.
The power on our side of the freeway had gone out hours ago so we could only see what was going on with the large freeway lights and the light from the other side of the freeway. Watching the storm come in was an awesome experience. Yes the wind pelted us with rain and we moved so we could continue staying outside. Without AC our rooms were stuffy and uncomfortable. But the storm brought a cool wind which made outside preferable. The lightening lit up the night sky and we saw all sorts of colors-red, green and blue. It was beautiful until the wind shifted and rain intensified and we ran for safety to our rooms.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Gosh, how do I write this post? There's no real good way. My mom passed away on Saturday. She went peacefully in her sleep, not in any pain at all. We'll be leaving for the funeral tomorrow so I'll be MIA for at least a week.
Just some stuff I've learned in the past few days:
*Make sure you know where your loved ones keep their wills & power of attorneys. When something happens you don't want to ransack your house or be at the bank begging to get in a safety deposit box to look for it.
*Make sure your loved ones have a will/power of attorney. No one enjoys talking about end of life issues but sadly it's important topic. You'll want to know what people want so you can carry out their wishes not your best judgments.
*Tell your friends and family that you love them every chance you get. You never know when you won't be able to tell them anymore. So incredibly hokey but each day is a gift and use it to its fullest potential.
*I've greatly appreciated all the phone calls and emails my friends have showered me with. Offers of food, rides, help with planning have been such a relief. I know for me that just having someone call and tell me how their day went helped me tremendously. I believe I'll be calling some of you in the next few days to just talk.
I'll miss all my blogging gals and their adventures while I'm gone. I probably won't check my Google Reader too much while I'm in Houston.
Think of me, especially if that pesky hurricane decides to visit Houston too. Much love to you all!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Fall Clothes for My Honey

I think we need to buy Tai some clothes for the fall. His daily work clothes are usually jeans and tshirts since his job is pretty relaxed. I think he'll need more of the same plus some more dress pants for nicer occasions.

I found all of these at Casual Male. We've never shopped there before but I think it might be a good place for future shopping trips.

Oh So Vintage! Oh So Glam!

Remember her?Everyone's favorite knottie VintageGlam! She has a blog now! I'm so excited. She's filling it with all her DIY projects and glamorous vintage finds! Go, check it out!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred

I saw this on Peabody's blog and thought it was a cool meme to try.

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Italize out any items that you would never consider eating.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile (I’ve had alligator so I think that counts)
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari-I tried it and hated it!
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom Tomatoes-I can't bold these but I have had them!
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam Chowder in Soudough Bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted Cream Tea
38. Vodka Jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects-covered in chocolate!
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth $120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. kaolin-I ate this without knowing!
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake (all of the above!)
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang Souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom Yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. 3 Michelin Star Tasting Menu-not yet but will in 2010
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

It looks like there are some good dishes out there I haven't tried. I should get cracking.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Trash The Dress Fantasy

Since I'm going to keep my dress (Tai convinced me to keep it), I now want to do a Trash the Dress session. And I keep thinking I can do this in Vegas while we're there for Kris' wedding. Here are some photos that make it oh so tempting!
From Chelsea Nicole. I love the rusted train. So cool.
From Brandon Williams Photography. What's not to love about this photo? So edgy!
From Byron Bridges Photography. So natural and different. I love pictures where people look relaxed in interesting settings.
As you can see I'm no looking to ruin my dress. Just get some interesting pictures in my pretty dress. I rather have some awesome photos than have it sitting in a closet!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I'm Going To Cook Something Damn It

I woke up yesterday (afternoon) determined to make minestrone soup. I had been planning to make it all week but life contrived not to let me. But my lazy Monday off seemed like the perfect time. But then I read the ingredient list and found I was missing half the ingredients. Ok, I had some ground beef so I thought I'll make beef barley soup. But I didn't have enough ingredients for that either. So I had to search for something to make. Yes, I could have made tacos or spaghetti. But we had tacos the night before with Jeff and Cherie and we had pasta several times last week. I found this Beef and Noodle with Tomato Gravy. But I made it with rice and omitted the milk (of course).
It was very yummy. Perhaps a little tomato sauce might help the creaminess.
But I still had the zucchini I bought for the minestrone soup. I didn't want to waste it. And luckily I saw this recipe on Got No Milk today. I left out the soy Parmesan since Tai doesn't like it. But it was good and pretty easy. I use panko and not breadcrumbs. Panko rocks!
Anyway it turned out to the a very satisfying dinner. It's starting to get colder here so I'll be cooking more and showing you the positive results.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Blog Trouble

So I changed back to a blogger template. I wasn't getting any data from Analytics. I tried several different fixes but nothing was working. I figured that the new template was causing some interference. So let's try this. If anyone has a suggestion let me know!